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A Companion


Edited By Jack Fennell

What is Sci-Fi?

Science fiction is a non-realist genre that foregrounds a sense of material plausibility, insisting that despite seeming outlandish, it is consonant with history and the laws of nature. By turns subtle and bombastic, sci-fi revels in discovery and revelation, whether through human ingenuity or world-altering paradigm shifts. The same impulse informs both the idealism of Star Trek and the existential terror of Frankenstein.

Each chapter of this book examines a specific trope or theme through a different critical lens – including eco-criticism, feminism and historicism – while also providing a historical overview of the genre, from its disputed origins to the pulp era, the New Wave, and the exponential growth of Afrofuturism and Indigenous Futurisms. Revered masters such as Isaac Asimov, Octavia Butler and Iain M. Banks are considered alongside newer talents, including Rebecca Roanhorse and N. K. Jemisin. Other chapters provide overviews of different media, from television (Doctor Who, Westworld) to comics/manga (2000AD, Métal Hurlant), video games (Deus Ex: Human Revolution) and theatre (Alistair McDowall’s X).

Sci-Fi: A Companion not only provides an accessible introduction to sci-fi for general readers and researchers alike, but also illuminates new approaches to a familiar genre.

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Notes on Contributors


RAFFAELLA BACCOLINI teaches Gender Studies and American Literature at the University of Bologna, Forlì. She has published several articles on dystopia and science fiction, trauma literature, women’s writing, memory, and modernist literature. She is the author of Tradition, Identity, Desire: Revisionist Strategies in H. D.’s Late Poetry (Patron, 1995) and has edited several volumes, among which are Dark Horizons: Science Fiction and the Dystopian Imagination (with T. Moylan, Routledge, 2003), Le prospettive di genere: discipline, soglie, confini (BUP, 2005), Utopia, Method, Vision: The Use Value of Social Dreaming (also with T. Moylan, Peter Lang, 2007), Humor and Gender: Interdisciplinary and International Perspectives (with D. Chiaro, Routledge, 2014), and Tom Moylan’s new edition of Demand the Impossible (Peter Lang, 2014). She is currently working on kindness, solidarity, and feminist education as utopian, political acts.

SIMON BACON has co-edited books on various subjects, including Undead Memory: Vampires and Human Memory in Popular Culture (2014), Little Horrors: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Anomalous Children and the Construction of Monstrosity (2016), Growing Up with Vampires: Essays on the Undead in Children’s Media (2018), The Gothic: A Reader (2018) and Horror: A Companion (2019). His monograph Becoming Vampire: Difference and the Vampire in Popular Culture came out in 2016. He is currently editing Growing Up with Vampires: Essays on the Undead in Children’s Media, whilst writing his second book, Dracula and Identity: The Absolute Otherness of Count Dracula on Screen, due out in 2019.

MATTEO BARBAGALLO is a PhD candidate and...

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